Pilea peperomioides are one of the most fun plants you can grow indoors. They are so cheerful with their little pancake leaves, and the way their stems arch delicately is quite elegant. The best part about growing a Pilea is that you soon will have a whole family of Pilea plants because they grow little offshoot plants regularly. They grow and grow and grow! This extended plant family below all are offspring from the large one on the left marked “number 1”. I purchased that Pilea on Etsy as a teeny-tiny guy several years ago and, in turn, I’ve given away multiple plants over the years to friends. I have tried them all over the house, and they are hard to kill. I’ve kept them near cold windows and even in fairly dark corners and they live through it. They don’t pop out the new offshoots when they aren’t as happy. But they don’t seem to die. If one is happy in its environment, you’ll know it because it starts making more Pilea for you to enjoy.
Pilea peperomioides are also called Chinese money plant, UFO plant, Pancake plant, Lefse plant, Lucky plant, Missionary plant, Mirror grass, Bender plant, Friendship plant or Pass-it-on plant. All of which are easier to say and spell than Pilea peperomioides.
The Pilea story is really pretty interesting. They are only found naturally in China, where they are actually quite rare in the wild. They were brought to Scandinavia in the 1940’s by a Norwegian missionary and became popular there. But they were only really heard of in the US and the rest of the world by about the 1980’s. This explains why my mother never had these in the house growing up, even though she was an avid houseplant gardener and also European! Even now, these Pilea are hard to find. You never see them at big garden stores, you have to either have a friend willing to pass on a “lucky thaler”, or get one off the internet like I did. But once you get one, you can be that wonderful giving friend! But first, you might as well grow yourself a nice batch of them. Like twenty.
Here is how to propagate the little buggers.
First make sure your Pilea is in a warm, humid spot and it will be more likely to start producing. They are technically a succulent and don’t need tons of water but they are happier with a regular watering schedule of about once every week. When you start to see offshoots, you can cut them off when they are very small and they should do well. But the bigger you let the offshoots get, the better their chances are of living to tell the tale.
Step 1. Prepare the Pots.
I like to start them in small pots with a good sized drainage hole as gifts for friends. I usually put about a 1″ layer of perlite at the bottom for excellent drainage and then regular potting soil on top of that.
Step 2. Get a Sharp Kitchen Knife or Hori Hori Gardening Knife , and Clean It Well.
It’s best to do the cuttings in spring or summer when the days are longer and the plant is getting the most light, but I have done it throughout the year without problems. They really are not fussy plants.
Step 3. Locate the Root System With Your Fingers.
I usually just wiggle my fingers down a little bit until I feel the root.
Step 4. Make a Clean, Sharp Cut.
Chop, chop and there you are.
Step 5. Repot the New Pilea Plant and Water It Thoroughly.
You can even “pot” them in water until they start growing some nice, new roots…Just be sure the leaves are ALL the way out of the water so they don’t rot. This is more for the offshoots that don’t have any roots and need to grow some before they can be planted in soil. Be sure to change the water regularly.
Now, enjoy and repeat the process! Over and over and over and over….
One Year Update
It’s been about a year since we posted this…check out how this pilea has grown since being divided! This is Pilea #2 from the picture above…
It’s even trying to grow out the small drainage hole at the base of the pot!
You may also like:
How to Propagate Pilea peperomioides.
Propagate your Pilea plant so you can give away the “lucky thaler” to friends and family and spread its cheerful green.
Tools & Supplies
Enough pots to hold the new plants
- Prepare the pots. Use pots with a good sized drainage hole. Add a 1″ layer of perlite at the bottom for excellent drainage and then regular potting soil on top of that.
- Locate the root.
- With a clean, sharp knife, make a clean cut into the soil, cutting the root with one motion.
- Place the new offspring into the prepared pot. Cover the roots completely with soil.
- Allow it to grow new offshoots, and Repeat!